Manny Ramirez set to make Triple-A debut for Cubs as 42-year-old player/coach

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One month after signing a minor-league contract with the Cubs to serve as a Triple-A player/coach Manny Ramirez is ready to make his Iowa Cubs debut.

Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that Ramirez will be in Iowa’s lineup Thursday and the team released journeyman outfielder Casper Wells to make room for him on the roster.

Cubs president Theo Epstein has made it very clear all along that there’s no chance of the 42-year-old Ramirez being called up to the majors, but explained that “he’s a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization.”

That now includes stud prospect Kris Bryant, who was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A last week, joining fellow top prospect Javier Baez in Iowa.

Ramirez played 30 games at Triple-A for the Rangers last season, hitting just .259 with three homers and a .698 OPS, and in 2012 he wasn’t any better at Triple-A for the A’s.

Report: Blue Jays and Royals making progress on a Francisco Liriano trade

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and Royals are making progress on a trade involving starter Francisco Liriano. Morosi notes that other teams are still involved with the Jays on Liriano as well.

Liriano, 33, has struggled mightily this season. He carries a 5.99 ERA with a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 76 2/3 innings. By most metrics, this is one of the worst seasons of the lefty’s career.

The Royals acquired a trio of pitchers earlier this week from the Padres: Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill. Adding Liriano would bolster the team’s rotation depth but might not do much beyond that.

Despite a sluggish start to the season, the Royals went 17-9 in June and are 14-8 in July to put themselves right back in the thick of things in the AL Central. They’re just one and a half games behind the first-place Indians, which explains their aggressiveness leading up to Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

The Marlins are open to trading starter Dan Straily

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Miami Marlins are “now open to trading” starter Dan Straily.

Straily is controllable through 2020 and is a solid mid-to-back rotation starter, so you’d think the Marlins would want to hang on to him, but given that all of the starting pitching available right now comes with a high price tag, the Marlins could probably get a lot in return if they were to deal him.

Straily has a 3.84 ERA and a 107/33 K/BB ratio in 117 1/3 innings this season.